When you are diagnosed with cancer, your life changes forever. Most survivors will tell you that. Going through the actual treatments and operations is tough, but you are seeing your doctor so often, that many of your questions are answered. Your fears are also somewhat smaller when you are around medical specialists more often, and are getting lots of attention.
Those days end, however, and the number of visits to your doctor are cut down in frequency. In my case, I went from seeing my medical team every two weeks, to once every three months. The frequency of these visits slows down as well. I just "graduated" to a once every six months follow up.
And it is the fact that survivors have all this time to think that sometimes lets the mind games go wild. Is it just a headache, or is it a tumour speading to my brain? What does that twinge of pain mean? This can lead us to more time looking up symptoms in medical books and online. You are not alone. We all have our moments.
It is what we do in between that counts. There are so many survivors who step up to the plate in their own way. Some get much closer to their loved ones and family. Others change their goals and careers. Many get involved in raising money for cancer research. There are so many ways to do it. For survivors, it's also a testament and a thank you to those who were involved in our treatment. We are just so happy to be alive!
There are many little heros amongst the hundreds of thousands of survivors on this earth. Most of them don't even realize it. Take a close friend of mine. Her experience was similar to mine. Double mastectomy followed by reconstruction. She also underwent chemotherapy following surgery. What did she do? She got on her bike and rode a two day race to raise funds for cancer research. She has had to go back under the knife for follow up surgeries. One planned, the other not. She went through each of them with grace and humour. She was even playing in a squash tournament final the night before her recent surgery!
These people are the true heros. They face each day in their new life after cancer with a new lens on life. They are stronger, humbler, and more determined. And they have big hearts. Fortunate are those who get to meet one of these heros. Even more blessed are those who have one in their lives.